Kiki the One Day Dog

“I have something important I want to talk to you about,” Tawn said with a look of seriousness. “I think we should get a dog.” Trying to be a more effective communicator than usual, I decided to listen instead of immediately listing the dozens of reasons why getting a dog was a bad idea. So I settled back into the couch and tried very hard to have an open mind.

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The end result of the discussion was that we ended up getting a dog. Despite my misgivings – we live in a no-pets condo, and a small one at that; our schedules don’t allow much time for a dog; while I love dogs I don’t want to be responsible for one – I told Tawn that if he could address the concerns that I felt, we could get a dog.

A week later, Tawn drove to a breeder across the river to pick up an 8-month old King Charles Cavalier. She had just been flown in from another breeder in Malaysia the night before and Tawn had been talking to the Thai breeder for a few weeks before asking me if we could get a dog.

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I arrived home in the middle of the afternoon to find them in the bathroom: a sad, soaked pup shivering on the marble floor as Tawn tried to blow dry her hair. Even though she had never met me, she readily jumped into the relative safety of my arms. Her wet, floppy ears quickly soaked my shirt sleeves.

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We sat on the patio for the next hour or so, the ceiling fan stirring a gentle breeze as I held the dog, whom we named Kiki, in a towel and tried to dry her fur. Her shaking stopped and she would doze for short intervals but quickly awoke at any movement or sound.

After a trip to the local pet store to buy some supplies for Kiki, Tawn had to head out for an event. I had some cooking to do in preparation for a dinner the next day. Kiki sat in her basket for a while and then in her kennel, watching me as I cooked. Even though she could see me, she would frequently bark, calling for my attention.

I would let her out and try to keep an eye on her as I cooked. Three times there were accidents on our carpet. Not being experienced caring for dogs, I quickly Googled for advice and tried to respond to the accidents without anger, instead carrying her to some newspapers on the patio whenever I though she might need to go.

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Tawn returned home, excited at the prospect of a dog waiting for him. She still seemed a little timid, afraid perhaps that he would whip out the hair dryer once again. We put her in the kennel several times, leaving the room for  an increasing length of time. She would yip and yelp quite quickly and we were worried that the neighbors would be disturbed by the noise.

Finally, when it was time for bed, I decided we should take some additional online advice: to help puppies adjust, place their kennel in the bedroom at night so they can sense that you are nearby. This seemed a reasonable step but about once every hour or so, Kiki would wake up and call for us. Finally, after the third time, Tawn took the kennel into the living room and stayed with her while I fell back asleep.

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In the morning, I found him lying on the couch with Kiki in a basket nearby. With a voice filled with regret, Tawn told me that he had spent the night up with her. While doing so, he had evaluated his decision and said that he had probably miscalculated how much time and energy it would take to care for a new dog. He proposed that we call the breeder and return Kiki.

Again trying to be a good communicator, I listened, acknowledged his points, and let him know that I would support him either way. If he wanted to keep Kiki, we would find a way to make it work. If he wanted to return her, I would understand that, too.

In the end, we put Kiki in her basket and drove back to the breeder’s that morning. Kiki was subdued, probably from a combination of exhaustion and anxiety. Handing her back to the maid at the breeder’s house, I couldn’t hold back my tears.

The next day, the breeder posted a picture of Kiki (whose real name is something fancy like Lady Penelope) sleeping peacefully with her sister, along with a comment about how happy she seemed to be to be back at home. That helped reassure Tawn that we had made the right decision.

Looking back, I think it would have been possible to make Kiki a part of our lives. It would have taken a lot of work over several weeks, but it could have been done. But I also think that we made the best decision, because a dog (especially a lap dog) really requires time and attention. It isn’t fair to not be prepared to give them what they need to thrive.


41 thoughts on “Kiki the One Day Dog

  1. Awwww for the record I like Kiki better than Lady Penelope. I wish they had adoption programs in BKK the way they do here. That way you guys can get a dog that’s already housebroken. She was adorable though and at least back with her siblings. ❤

    • Actually, she was already housebroken and leash trained, but wasn’t familiar with our house and didn’t know where she could go. Poor thing, she had to deal with me, someone who didn’t really know the best way to potty train her in our house.

  2. this reminds of when we first brought our puppy home. the first three months were the hardest…teaching huihui where to go potty, setting boundaries, and generally keeping him out of trouble were a real source of stress for me at the time. not to mention the numerous vet visits and helping him deal with separation anxiety (which he still hasn’t really gotten over). thankfully i had daniel’s parents who graciously volunteered to dogsit for short periods of time when he became too much for me to handle. eventually, as huihui settled in his environment, he became easier and easier to care for, and both daniel and i would agree that we simply couldn’t imagine our lives without him. the stress of work and a sometimes harsh city life can really get you down, but having the little guy welcome me home every night really does help me forget my troubles. i would recommend dogsitting for some friends to get the hang of things…and i hope there will be a puppy in your future =)

    • I think we will take another dip in that pool in the future, but this time will be a bit better prepared. The idea of dog sitting for friends is a good one. Maybe easier to get a bit more experience.

  3. I really applaud your honesty, Chris. I think you’ve made the right decision, and it’s so good of you both to support each other and reach that decision in 1 day. I don’t think I’m such a good dog owner, but I can say with confidence that if you didn’t feel 100% prepared to care for Kiki, at this present time, then it’s so much better for you two and for her that she was returned to the breeder (those times when Kiki should be getting company whilst she’s young are SO IMPORTANT because it really sets her behaviour for many years to come). I’m impressed you reached that conclusion within a day.

    • I’m really impressed that *Tawn* reached that conclusion within a day. =)

      I think that I was aware that a dog wasn’t the best idea, but then I tend to view everything through a rational lens.

  4. Awww. I know what you mean Chris. I was in Greece on Lesbos and co-adopted a dog with a friend who bought me to the shelter, a Greek street dog called Marco. Knowing my travel schedule, the friend promised to co-parent the dog whenever I was gone. Let’s just say that was not the case, and Marco was adoped by a lovely couple who had actually brought him over on the plane. A dog like children, need stability, atttention and consequential routine. I realized I’m not ready yet for either.

    • That’s a sweet sentiment, thanks. Many years ago, Tawn adopted two dogs that were given up by his friend. The dogs live with Tawn’s parents, who have other dogs, and he observed that those two dogs never quite got over the scarring that came from being abandoned by their first owner.

      • just like us. Childhood affects us a lot as well.
        Luckily, I had a dog for 15 years which growth up with me. My dad took it home on street. She was skinny and weak. But after intensive caring and loves, she weighted 25 pounds maximum.
        Sure Tawn and you have made a right decision =)

  5. Kiki / Lady Penelope is quite adorable! (Though I preferred Kiki more). I feel sad about the ending, indeed puppies are just like children and require constant attention. But seems like You and Tawn will be good parents and quite attentive to Kiki. I hope that you’ll adopt one in the near future!

    I have been through several pooches (poodles, German shepherd, Airedale terrier), don’t mind adopting one since W has been yearning for one lately 🙂

    • With your wider range of dog experience, what breeds might you suggest? Need a smaller dog because we live in a condo. My impression was that a King Charles is perhaps a bit too “needy” a dog. Thoughts?

      • Since Kiki came as leashed and bathroom trained, it would be perfect. The size is also good for your place too. Looking at the photos, this type of dog seems to have a very tame demeanor and will fit right in, even matching the classy colour, style and decor of furnishing in the home. A toy Spaniel with similar coat colour like Kiki will be nice. But I’d be really choosy with toy terriers, since they like to bark a lot! 🙂

      • The big thing I learned about King Charles breed after the fact is that they are really “needy” dogs, ones that want to pretty much be held all the time. I don’t mind a dog that likes companionship but I have to be able to do chores, cook food, etc.

  6. We had that same experience a number of years ago. Same love, same anxiety, same regret. I think that we worry too much to have a dog; or are too selfish. Hubby has mentioned trying again, but it was just too traumatic for me and I couldn’t go through it again.
    I wish everyone was like you, and considered the good of the dog. I’ll bet Kiki will find a home in which she can have a lap to sit in all day!

  7. When I was 18 my mom brought home a dachshund puppy. She was never the type to actually care for anything, so it was left to me. For the first few weeks at night I would put him in his carrier and haul the whole thing into bed with me, and sleep with my fingers laced through the door so he wouldn’t cry. I was afraid he’d jump off the bed during the night, or that I would roll over top of him.

    • Wow, talk about dedication! We agreed from the outset that we didn’t want the dog in the bed with us, so that wasn’t an option. Bringing the carrier up was an innovative solution, though.

  8. Puppies are the cutest thing, but they are also the most trouble. If I wasn’t unemployed at the time, I would never have gotten my dog. There’s a lot of responsibility involved, and I think you guys did the right thing. It took about 2 months before my puppy wasn’t going ape shit when nobody was around. Took over a year before he wouldn’t chew on anything he could find (corner of cabinets, throw rugs, his crate!). It was VERY TOUGH. However, I can’t imagine not having my little guy around. When you guys are ready, give it another try. Maybe go with a slightly older dog.

    • Thanks for the feedback Michael. Next time, we will definitely think a lot more carefully about our plan and strategy before getting a dog. One of these days, though, I’m sure we will try again.

  9. Dogs are really dependent on humans. It needs the full commitment to have a dog. Probably the resolution you found is better for both – dog and human. Kiki is an awfully cute dog though. 😉

  10. I love dogs too but just do not have the time, nor energy, to have one. I am quite pleased with Miss Ali, hubbys companion kitty.

  11. Aw! They are hard work dogs, I have two and one is mean (it’s not his fault he had a rough childhood) you did the right thing. But, don’t let it put you off forever. When the time is right they are wonderful companions. Although I do shout at mine a lot.

  12. I’m sorry it didn’t work out =/ I really want to get a pet sometime soon, but they DO just take so much energy and work, especially up front….

  13. GAHHHHHHHHH!!!!! Don’t ya just hate that!!??? I recently had the same situation. A one-night-stand with a little terrier. Gosh darn it all. It just killed me dead. But that little trial was important to have because sometimes these arrangements don’t work.I think it would be better if they required you leave your heart as the deposit, that way you can’t get all attached or emotionally tangled up as you ‘try out’ the prospective pet.

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